Boatwif Blog

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Clocking up the miles on a clockwise route

Tixall Wide (Staffs and Worcs Canal) to Norbury Junction (Shropshire Union) Up! Up! Up! The Staffs and Worcs climbs steadily by 12 locks from Tixall Lock (east of Stafford)   along about 11 miles to the summit at Gailey.  Initially it is the railway line that shadows the canal     – and then the railway crosses the canal and swings north. …. Soon though the sound of road traffic from the M6 becomes a background sound. Some of the locks...

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Tunnels, tracks and TEs*

Red Bull Aqueduct, Kidsgrove to Tixall Wide, Staffordshire TEs* Towpath Encounters Monday, 7th September. To head south from the Macclesfield Canal entails joining the Trent and Mersey Canal at Hardings Wood Junction, weaving a route under the main West Coast railway line at Kidsgrove  – and joining a boat queue at the north end portal of Harecastle Tunnel. As is often the case weather conditions north of the Harecastle Tunnel differed from those south of the tunnel. Hence, rain at...

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Surprises

Macclesfield Canal: Victoria Pit at Higher Poynton to Red Bull Aqueduct Surprises tend to come in one of two forms – nice or nasty. A nasty surprise which curtailed Boatwif’s ‘Back to Boating’ trip in July was a broken wrist… seven weeks on another Back to Boating attempt is under way. Determined to mix recovery with practicalities and a birthday celebration the Cleddau crew returned to Cheshire, moved back on board and enjoyed a delightful Sunday Bank Holiday stroll from...

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Rocking on …

Routines during the past months have been largely repetitive (and we all know why), so when something new or different is seen curiosity is aroused. It was while passing Kerridge on the Macclesfield Canal (13th August) that cranes and earthworks on the ridge line were sighted.     More quarrying? (Kerridge quarries have long been supplying stone).  But no. Apparently United Utilities is building another reservoir as a back-up facility for the existing service reservoir. On the previous boat trip the...

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While plastered…

In mid-July Boatwif’s fractured right wrist brought Cleddau-cruising to an abrupt halt. Incarcerated back in Bedfordshire in a self-inflicted lockdown Boatwif and the Captain reverted to gentle local walks. Crops had continued to grow,     some had been harvested   and hay bales were on the move…     A new footbridge now connects two local paths,     a plant beside the church’s north porch has sprouted eye-catching colour   while up in Kempston Wood the undergrowth has fallen flat,...

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High Cirrus over the High Peak

Permission to visit and stay overnight on boats took effect from 4th July. For months the large blue IKEA bags (handy for transferring stuff from house to car boot and through narrow hatches and doorways onto a boat) had been lurking at home, awaiting onward transportation… And what mixed bags they were – bedding, a repainted flagpole for the stern, foodstuffs, walking boots, waterproofs, electrical paraphernalia,    2 Turks’ head knots for tiller decoration and    a customised companion set...

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Thank you for the space…

“Thank you for the space,” an approaching walker said one day on one of the footpaths through a Marston Vale community woodland site.  Though referring to the distance created between him and other foot traffic the simple sentence has a broader meaning for the Cleddau crew. ….. “It’s plus I week now,” remarked the Cleddau Captain one day last week. Plus one? Plus one week? It transpires that his method of coping with Lockdown was to count down from 12...

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Foot cruises across field and fold…

This time last year (16th May, 2019) Cleddau and crew were at Tarleton preparing for the adventure that was the tidal route across the Ribble to access the Lancaster Canal. And in 2018? On this day Cleddau chugged along the Fossdyke to Burton Waters Marina, just outside Lincoln. Looking further back, in 2017, May 16th saw Cleddau moored in Gloucester Docks. In May 2016 Cleddau was moored in Salthouse Dock, on her first visit to Liverpool, while in 2015, with...

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Lock gates by proxy…

Though you can take a man away from his boat, you cannot take a boat out of the man… In these strange times when boaters are forbidden to visit their boats and navigations are effectively closed it’s hard to imagine a boating life… Had the initial plan for 2020 cruising proceeded, by mid-April Cleddau would have been on the Stratford-upon-Avon Canal. Instead, locked down in a Bedfordshire village, the Captain and Boatwif take comfort in their daily walk. There’s much to...

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High and dry…

Boatwif caught the Captain looking back at the last blog entry a couple of days ago. It had been posted on January 18th, following a few special days in Pembrokeshire and a couple of nights (and two theatre productions) in Stratford-upon-Avon. That post finished with: ‘Now a germ of an idea has begun to form: wouldn’t a cruise down to Stratford and along the Avon be just the thing to look forward to later in the year…?’ Back at home...